Formed in 1990 by Roger Brandt, Rochester’s Cornerstone Group has become a true leader in affordable housing development in Western New York. Since being formed, Cornerstone has created or preserved more than 1400 units of affordable housing in upstate New York . These projects serve a wide range of people, including families, the elderly, individuals with mobility impairments or people with developmental disabilities. Cornerstone has also brokered dozens of commercial properties in Western New York, ranging from professional office space to vacant land to industrial parks, as well as developed multiple commercial properties, from new construction to historic renovation.
Current Projects Recently Completed
Cornerstone recently completed a project in Greece which has received much acclaim due to its forward thinking model which addresses the state’s Medicaid Redesign concepts by providing a creative alternate solution to assist seniors in their supportive housing needs. This development has a licensed enriched living community with 45 of the 54 units receiving project based vouchers. Licensing has been received from the Department of Health to provide 30 of the units with case management, housekeeping and laundry service, as well as three meals a day. This type of facility had not previously been provided in New York State while utilizing the low income housing tax credit program.
Spa Apartments, a renovation of a 120 year-old, 6-story brick 109-unit apartment building was completed in 2016. A complex myriad of financial restructuring involving many state agencies made the renovation possible.
Stadium Estates, a 45-unit family rental project in the City of Rochester, which was recipient of a 2013 award of New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s Housing Trust Funds and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, is complete. The newly constructed homes are located in the City’s JOSANA neighborhood, located northwest of Downtown Rochester, near Sahlen’s Stadium. The 45 units are comprised of 3, 4, and 5 bedroom single family homes, duplexes, and triplexes.
Projects in Pre-Development/Funding Stages
Cornerstone is currently in various stages of planning urban and suburban new construction projects as well as several renovation projects which will provide rehabilitation to older residential communities.
Cornerstone is utilizing the programs which are currently being offered by HUD and New York State to the ultimate benefit of the residents.
Cornerstone has acquired lands in Greece, Geneva and Henrietta and is in the planning stages for all three new developments.
Market rate, preservation and student housing projects are currently in the planning stages, as well.
Cornerstone has an affiliated management company, Cornerstone Property Managers, LLC., which has been adding new properties to its portfolio each year. With the addition of Robin Rubado, CPM, an experienced veteran in the field of property managemnt, as well as additional management professionals, Cornerstone is managing market rate and affordable residential projects as well as commercial ventures.
Record of Success
Cornerstone has received accolades for persistence in difficult economic climates, willingness to construct in challenging neighborhoods, and creativity in completing difficult transactions. Fairport Apartments was named 2012 Project of the Year (Upstate) by New York State Association for Affordable Housing. Cornerstone’s Olean-Kennedy Revitalization Project redeveloped 144 mixed-income apartments in the City of Rochester, and earned the company recognition including “Best Family Project in the Nation” in Affordable Housing Finance magazine’s Readers Choice Awards for the Nation’s Best Affordable Housing Developments. The first phase of this development ( Plymouth Manor) was presented with New York State Association for Affordable Housing’s Project of the Year Award for Excellence. The Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition gave both phases of the project an Honorable Mention as an urban housing project at the 13th Annual Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards Ceremony. This national awards program celebrates the best in affordable rental housing development.
Planned Unit Development
Currently, the company is involved in the development of Union Square, a 140-acre parcel, zoned as a planned residential development district, in Chili. Both planned and existing in the community is a combination of single family homes, townhouses, apartments, and senior care facilities for independent-living seniors as well as a skilled nursing facility. Approvals for 768 housing units plus up to 30,000 square feet of commercial space are in place. Cornerstone has developed Union Meadows, a 48-unit family project (townhomes), Union Meadows II, a 42-unit family project, and Union Park, a 50-unit senior project at the Union Square site. This housing community was the recipient of the Town of Chili Beautification Award.
Other current developments include the 235-acre Rochester International Commerce Center and the adjacent 180-acre Jetview Business Park, which together offer light industrial zoned land for warehouse, distribution and light assembly uses.
A new road that formally links Rochester International Commerce Center and Jetview Business Park to the expressway system is now open, which enables companies to gain direct access to the interstate highway system in less than two minutes.
Wetland Mitigation Banking
Also in Chili, Cornerstone constructed the first Wetland Mitigation Bank in New York State. The bank offers a unique opportunity for developers to have an option for meeting their state and federal wetland requirements when development plans unavoidably impact wetlands.
Office Park Development
Cornerstone Centre is an award-winning 12-acre, 87,600 square foot professional office park at Buffalo Road and the Route 490 Expressway in Gates. To complement the leasing option, a Property Owners’ Association was formed to offer units for sale to investors and businesses.
Affordable Housing Preservation Project
Cornerstone was engaged by Rochester Management, Inc. to serve as developer for the rehabilitation of 516 apartment units in three rental communities in the City of Rochester. The scope of work involved major renovations as well as refinancing. This $61 million preservation project utilized a complex myriad of financing including tax exempt bonds, tax credits as well as NYSERDA funds.
HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration
Cornerstone is partnering with public housing authorities (PHAs) as they prepare to apply for conversion of assistance under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD).
Cornerstone is assisting PHAs in assessing which of their properties might prove to be viable candidates for conversion of assistance under RAD. RAD is the central part of HUD’s new rental housing preservation strategy in order to preserve the nation's stock of deeply affordable rental housing and promote efficiency within and among HUD programs.
In 2013, Cornerstone worked with the Batavia Housing Authority, Lackawanna Municipal Housing Authority and Kiryas Joel Housing Authority, to help them apply for commitments for Housing Assistance Payments (CHAPS).
For over twenty years, Cornerstone has capitalized on its ability to listen to client’s needs, create strategic partnerships, and navigate challenging economic climates thanks to our expertise in real estate development and finance, as well as our strong community relationships. Our reputation precedes us, and our integrity underscores everything we do.